On December 11, 2015, the Mets signed Asdrubal Cabrera to be their starting shortstop. Despite making it to the World Series with Wilmer Flores manning the position, the Mets wanted to pair Cabrera with the also newly acquired Neil Walker up the middle. The deal was for two years and $18.5 million.
At the time, many people thought the signing was a mistake. Two and a half years later, we all know it was not.
Since joining the Mets, Cabrera has been one of the most consistent hitters on the team. In 374 games he hit .279/.339/.464 with 55 home runs and 179 RBIs. While the shortstop experiment did not work out, he was tested at both second and third base where he performed adequately defensively.
While he always hit consistently, his Mets career was full of ups and downs. From refusing to play third base and requesting a trade to launching a home run against his new team to propel the Mets to the playoffs, he certainly had a memorable Mets tenure.
“For the last two years, [Cabrera has] been a real leader for us, a true professional from the day he walked through the door,” Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said. “I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s been a leader in the clubhouse and on the field. A guy who never wanted to come out of the lineup and we really appreciated him as a player and a person, and wish him nothing but the best in Philadelphia.”
While David Wright is the captain of the team, he can’t be the on-field captain he used to be. Cabrera has helped fill that role nicely, notably playing through injuries — something we don’t see as much in the game nowadays.
“I know it’s part of the game,” Cabrera told reporters after he knew he was traded. “I’m really happy, because I left with my head up because I did my best for the Mets.”
Like him or not, he was one of the better free agent signings in franchise history. The Mets might not have gotten to the 2016 Wild Card game without his dramatic walk-off home run against the Phillies. If it weren’t for the brick wall that was Madison Bumgarner, we might have been talking about that home run in the context of a deeper playoff run.
The Mets have 11 more games against the Phillies and Cabrera this season. The next time he comes to bat at Citi Field, he should receive a well-deserved ovation for his time spent in the home dugout.
Cabby, we wish you the best of luck and hope you enjoy many more strong seasons! As for your new team the Phillies, well… That’s a different story.